Tie a green ribbon around a gift from the Greenbelt this holiday season. Ontario’s Greenbelt, spanning from Niagara to Northumberland region and north along the Niagara Escarpment, produces a bounty of unique gifts and adventures.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has assembled a list of our favourite holiday gifts that represent and support the Greenbelt’s agriculture and environmental integrity.
1. Eat your way across the Greenbelt: Provide the food lover you know with a culinary tour of the Greenbelt with the following delicious products:
- Greaves Jam: Send the gift of Niagara tender fruit and berries with Greaves Jam. A family company since 1927, Greaves Jam can now be ordered online. Visit www.greavesjam.com or call 1-800-515-9939 for pricing and order information.
- Winery to Home: In keeping with the Niagara theme, pair your local cheeses with a VQA wine from Ontario. Now in its sixth year, Winery to Home offers gift certificates that feature their winery of the month gift pack and winery packs. Each pack contains its own wine profile sheet that includes tasting notes, reviews and food pairing suggestions. Visit www.winerytohome.com to make your purchase online.
- Hy Hope Farms: Did you know that pies are the new food trend for 2011? Travel to Ashburn, Ontario for a tasteof Ontario’s tender fruit. Instead of a bottle of wine for that holiday party, why not offer a delicious local pie. Visit www.hyhopefarm.caor call (905) 655-4123.
- Upper Canada Cheese Company: Did you know that Comfort Cream, Niagara Gold and Guersney Girl are all local cheeses? And they are right at your fingertips from Niagara creamery, Upper Canada Cheese. Find out where to purchase a selection of local cheeses to share at your holidays parties by visiting www.uppercanadacheesecompany.com or calling (905) 562-9730.
2. Dare to be Different: Know someone who doesn’t follow conventions and likes to be a little different? Here are a few suggestions from right here in the Greenbelt that will knock their socks off (literally):
- Bare Oaks: Located in York Region at the edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Bare Oaks offers the opportunity to truly connect with nature. For those who like the au natural look give the gift of a weekend in the buff or a dining experience like no other at the Bare Bistro.Visit www.bareoaks.ca or call 1-888-373-9124 for rates.
- Scenic Caves: Whether it’s the green or white months, Scenic Caves in Collingwood offers a variety of activities for the friend or family member who gets excited about words like spelunking. For information on packages call (705) 446-0256 or visit http://www.sceniccaves.com/index.htm.
3. Adventure in the Greenbelt: Buy a membership for a friend or the entire family for one of the many conservation authorities located throughout the Greenbelt. We’ve provided you with a few examples:
- Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority: A membership provides complimentary and/or discounted access to hiking, camping, picnicking, festivals, conservation workshops and cultural heritage sites. An individual membership is $70 for the year. The membership and other great gift ideas can be purchased online or by calling (905) 788-3135.
- Hamilton Conservation Authority: The Hamilton Conservation Authority Membership provides access to all 21 conservation areas. There are two passes available: the regular pass is $107.35 or the Foundation Pass, which includes the pass plus a $100 donation, for $170. Both passes can be purchased online or by phone (905) 648-4427.
- Kortright Centre for Conservation: Located just north of Toronto, in Woodbridge, this conservation centre features year round family fun from the Maple Syrup Festival to winter hikes. The Centre offers individual and family memberships, ranging from $56.50 to $96.05. For more information contact (905) 832-2289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority: This conservation authority spans 11,000 hectares and contains the largest block of continuous forest in Southern Ontario. Located east of the GTA, the Garanaska Region Conservation Authority offers a variety of memberships and day passes. For more information contact (905) 885-8173.
4. Maintain and Grow the Greenbelt: Donations never grow old. Here are a few Greenbelt organizations that are working to preserve its natural beauty and maintain a more sustainable future for all:
- Bruce Trail Conservancy: Help preserve Canada’s oldest marked footpath and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Visit https://brucetrail.org/donations/donateor call (905) 529-6821.
- Environment Hamilton: An organization working to help grow and develop the knowledge and skills needed to protect and enhance the environment surrounding Hamilton. Donations can be made by contacting (905) 549-0900.
- The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance: Play a role in growing and protecting Ontario’s Greenbelt by placing a donation to the Alliance in the name of a friend or family member. Donations can be made online at http://greenbeltalliance.ca/?q=node/6 or by calling (416) 323-9521.
5. The Greenbelt Book Worm: For the reader there are several books that feature the food, natural beauty and trails of the
Greenbelt. Here are a few picks:
- Niagara Cooks, by Lynn Ogryzlo: For quick and easy recipes that feature local foods and sources for obtaining local, seasonal ingredients, look no further than Niagara Cooks. Retailing for $24.95 plus tax and shipping, visithttp://www.lynnogryzlo.com for information on availability.
- Bruce Trail - An Adventure along the Niagara Escarpment, by Rich Freeman: The consummate guidebook for those looking to tour the Bruce Trail. Andrew and his wife Sue, both experienced backpackers, have travelled the Bruce Trail extensively and documented their journey for new and old trekkers to enjoy. For order and pricing information visithttp://www.footprintpress.com/BruceTrail/btPreview.htm.
- The New Ontario Naturalized Garden, by Lorraine Johnson: Know someone with a green thumb? Give the gift of the Greenbelt garden, with this informative book about planting native plants. Lorraine Johnson, director of the Canadian Wildflower Society provides expert advice on how to embrace nature in your garden. Available at your local bookstore.